Claiming Williams 2015: Why Should I Care?


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Schedule of Events ~ Thursday, February 5, 2015

Note: Claiming Williams events are intended for the campus community.  The 8 pm Keynote is open to the public.

Why should we care—about what happens in New York City, in Ferguson, in North Adams, at our southern border, in Gaza, to our planet?  Why should we care about the effects these issues have on our own campus community?  The Claiming Williams Steering Committee began meeting this fall as vigils and teach-ins focusing on these questions were occurring across campus and elsewhere.  We saw organizers of these actions, often from groups most impacted by the events that sparked them, taking on extra burdens during already difficult times; we saw members of our community unsure about how to be good allies around issues that foreground our differences of privilege and belonging; and we saw signs of “issue fatigue” setting in as the term got underway.  This fall term brought home to us how issues and events that may not affect us all in the same way still very much affect us as a community. Claiming Williams Day 2015 comes out of these discussions. Come, participate:  no desks, no grades, just learning and action!

Claiming Williams Day

Each year on Claiming Williams Day, classes are suspended and the campus engages in events and discussions about building and sustaining a more inclusive community. Claiming Williams Day takes shape around proposals generated by students, staff and faculty.

Claiming Williams 2015 asks you to think about what matters – to you as an individual, to us as a college, to the communities to which we belong, to all of us together as part of a larger world. What do you care about? Why? Not sure if – or how – economic differences on campus, racial profiling by police, the fighting in Gaza, or other issues affect you? What does it mean to actively care – and how can we take action for a better world?

We urge you to get involved – by serving on the Claiming Williams Steering Committee, by proposing an event, or simply by attending. The Claiming Williams Steering Committee is eager to assist members of the community who want to propose an event or discussion: please contact us if you have an idea.

Proposals are due November 3.

A Brief History

Claiming Williams was born when a series of incidents in an entry in January 2008 sparked a grassroots student movement that was joined by staff and faculty, and became known as Stand with Us. The hope was that the community would work pro-actively to prevent hurtful, hateful incidents, rather than just responding afterwards.

The College celebrated the first Claiming Williams Day on February 5, 2009. Read more on the Mission & History and Archives pages.